Greenwald Introduces Legislation to Combat Healthcare Staffing Shortages

Nine-Bill Workforce Development Package Would Bolster Healthcare Industry

 (TRENTON) – Across the country and in New Jersey, the healthcare industry has been grappling with a shrinking healthcare workforce for many years. The recent pandemic has put even greater pressure and stress on healthcare professionals as they continue to meet the needs of patients. This crisis drastically exacerbated existing workforce shortages in the healthcare industry.

That is why Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald held a press conference today at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees to announce the introduction of a package of legislation aimed at strengthening New Jersey’s healthcare workforce and addressing the staggering staffing shortages in this industry. He was joined by Assembly Members Paul Moriarty, Gabriela Mosquera, Angelica Jimenez, Carol Murphy, and Herb Conaway as well as stakeholders representing healthcare, business and education institutions throughout New Jersey.

“There exists a dire shortage of healthcare workers in our state. Burnout, inflation, and shifting worker expectations have disproportionately impacted the healthcare workforce when compared to other industries. With so many in the workforce aged 65 and above, the shortage and vacancy rates are ever growing and nearing catastrophic levels. Worst yet, in the coming years New Jersey is projected to see some of the highest shortages in the nation,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington). “Unless we reverse the trend, the remaining but dwindling cadre of dedicated professionals will be too few to shoulder the necessary responsibility of caring for our seniors, children, and those who are sick or disabled.”

The bill package seeks to encourage more people to enter the healthcare industry while eliminating barriers that stand in the way of qualified applicants finding work. The measures include:

A4613

Greenwald/Pintor-Marin/Jasey/Conaway

Creates a new loan redemption program for primary care physicians, pediatric doctors, psychiatrists, and any other physician identified by the Department as being in short supply
A4614

Greenwald/Jasey/Carter

/Lampitt

Changes the eligibility criteria for the Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program to incentivize more people to become nursing teachers
A4615

Greenwald/Reynolds-Jackson/Park

Requires State to foster development and implementation of graduate medical education programs in behavioral health care
A4616

Moriarty/Greenwald

/Jaffer

Lessens onerous examination requirements for respiratory care therapists looking to become licensed in NJ
A4617

DeAngelo/Haider

/Greenwald

Requires DOL work with healthcare stakeholders to identify unemployed individuals who can be trained to work in healthcare fields
A4618

Freiman/Murphy

/Greenwald

Creates an online job portal in DOL to help connect behavioral healthcare workers with job openings
A4619

Greenwald/Conaway

/Stanley

Extends temporary emergency licensure for out of state practitioners and recent graduates permanently
A4620

Greenwald/Tully

/Jimenez

Requires Board of Medical Examiners and DHS to come together and create a standardized application for both licensing and Medicaid credentialing
A4621

Mosquera/Greenwald

/Swain

Requires a report on processing of professional licenses from the Division of Consumer Affairs

Stakeholders representing healthcare, business and education institutions have signaled support for the bill package, issuing the following statements:

“NJBIA is proud to support this comprehensive bill package to address the many challenges facing the healthcare workforce,” said Alexis Bailey, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs. “These bills will go a long way in attracting individuals into healthcare professions and ease regulatory burdens while maintaining the highest level of care for New Jerseyans. We thank Majority Leader Greenwald for his continued leadership on this critical issue.”

“For too long, New Jersey’s physicians have been asked to lead the state’s healthcare workforce while facing headwinds that make the practice of medicine unnecessarily difficult,” said Larry Downs, CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the state’s largest and oldest physician professional association.  “These measures will help resolve those challenges for physicians across the state and in all stages of practice, and we look forward to partnering with Majority Leader Greenwald to get this important legislative package across the finish line.”

“The sustainability and satisfaction of our health care workforce is a top priority for Virtua Health,” said Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, President and CEO of Virtua Health. “I thank Majority Leader Greenwald and all the Assembly sponsors for introducing this legislative package to support hospitals in educating and hiring the wide range of health care professionals needed to care for our community, both now and in the years ahead.”

“A robust healthcare workforce is critical to ensuring New Jerseyans have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place,” said Cathleen Bennett, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. “New Jersey is projected to be facing one of the nation’s largest workforce staffing gaps in the coming years, a situation that threatens the health of all New Jerseyans. NJHA is committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders to confront this shortfall and provide New Jersey communities with the healthcare and good jobs they need to thrive.”